Replacing Toys “R” Us Square Footage. How Are We Doing?

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I recently wrote a blog post which calculated how many retail chain stores were planning to expand their toy departments (see: "24,879 Expanded Toy Departments; Macy's, Kohl's, JC Penney and More"). But what does that really tell us about how we are doing in replacing the lost 739 Toys "R" Us stores? To find out I did a square footage calculation.

First I estimated the size of an average Toys "R" Us store as 30,000 square feet. I then multiplied that number times 739 stores, the number of U.S. stores prior to the liquidation. That gave me a total amount of square footage of 22,170,000 square feet.

739 Toys "R" Us stores x 30,000 square feet = 22,170,000 square feet

Then I calculated the total number of square feet in the 24,879 expanded toy departments. There is really no way to know, at this time, how many square feet each retailer is adding but I thought it safe to calculate an average of one new four foot section, five feet high per store (20 square feet).  The total square footage, based upon this calculation is 497,580 square feet. 

24,879  Expanded Retail Departments x 20 square feet = 497,580 square feet

That means that we have made up only a small percentage of the lost Toys "R" Us footage

A few caveats:

1.    This calculation only reflects bricks and mortar stores. It does not include Internet sales which will be increasingly substantial.

2.    The 4 foot section per new expansion calculation may be low.

3.    The calculation does not include independent retailers or chains which have decided to expand their toy departments but have not made an announcement.

Bottom line we are on our way to a recovery but there is still a lot of ground to be made up.  Which retailers, big or small, will make up the rest of the gap? It will be interesting to see.

One thought

  1. One of the problems with this type of calculation, it that pretty much every store that expands their toy departments or adds a new toy section, is adding the same basic selection formula as each other: generally the top toy sellers for each category with emphasis on licensed properties and toys from the big manufacturers. With a smattering of educational toys, games, and impulse items thrown in. If a TRU store averaged 30,000 square feet, you could probably guesstimate how much square footage they used for each section: action figures, dolls, preschool, ride-ons and bikes, seasonal, plush, games, electronics, etc.etc etc. But many of those sections will hardly see representation at all in expanded toy sections of existing brick and mortar stores. If you had placed all of the top selling toys and categories in a Toys R Us store in one big 5,000 square foot section called “Toys R Us Greatest Hits”, that is the core section that would be, in some form or another, ( in obviously much less than 5,000 sf,) replicated in new stores or old store expansion . The other imaginary 25,000 square feet, holding the less-than-stellar sellers, classic toys, unadvertised, orphan, unlicensed, (but probably REALLY FUN!) playthings, are the ones that will probably not be found anywhere except online. Maybe.
    I hope I’m explaining myself… I’m a visual person. So I am imagining, if you created a graph using the square footage of all the TRU stores, and tried to fill it, using the square footage of new and expanded toy stores, you couldn’t actually do it because much of that square footage will never be filled by the same variety and types of toys TRU carried.

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